The Book of Me – Prompt 6 : Journals and Diaries

(Yes, Prompts 4 & 5 are missing. If I catch up I’ll post them, but I decided to pick up where I was for now. If you’re new here, see this post for more about The Book of Me prompts.)

This week’s prompt is :Journals and Diaries :
Do you keep a journal or diary?
How far back do they go? What do you record?
Where do you keep them?
Do you always buy the same one or vary them?
Have you inherited any?
Do you intend to pass along your journals or destroy them?
Do you have a favourite?
What do you use to write with – biro, pencil, ink or fountain pen?

This prompt was right up my alley as I’ve officially become in love with journaling. I tried on and off to journal for years, but have nothing more than a few pages to show for it. Last year is the first time I’ve actually journaled for any significant amount of time and kept with it. I really believe giving myself freedom to journal as little or as much as I wanted to is the key. I don’t have to journal daily. It helped banish any guilt associated with not journaling enough, so I’ve kept it up and enjoy journaling now.

My journal entries vary. Sometimes I write about the day-to-day stuff like what I fixed for supper or planted in the garden or did that day. Sometimes I write random thoughts, including questions I ponder or quotes I like. Occasionally I’ll even let loose a rant, venting about all the things I’m tired of in life. Randomness would sum up my journal entries and a few journal entries are vague on purpose. On the back page of my current journal, I’ve started a “Bliss List”…things that make me absolutely happy!

Finished Journal (on top)

Finished Journal (on top)

I completely finished filling a journal front to back last month. It took a little over a year. In a way I was sad to see the brilliantly fabric covered journal with beaded ribbon marker have to be put away, but I’ve moved on. I’m now journaling in a bright pink journal with an embossed design on the right edge and an elastic strap to hold it shut. The initial to my first name is on the front as well. It’s a journal my mother gave me last year. She gave me several blank lined journals as a gift, when she found out I was writing a lot.

Current Journal

Current Journal

As you can tell, I don’t always use the same type journal. I do prefer something nice(“pretty”) to write in and never plan to use regular old spiral notebooks for journaling. I want something sturdy that will hold up with time. I write in my journals with pen, because I want it to be permanent. I’ve tried several, but have not come upon the “perfect” pen yet. I don’t want too thick of a line and I don’t want a pen that skips or globs up. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and don’t like to have to scribble through things.

There are several things I learned from my first filled journal. As much as I like the thought of art journaling, for now, it’s not for me. I did do a few doodles and drawings, but that’s it. It’s simpler for me just to write my thoughts. My entries ranged from 1/3 of a page to 4 pages a few times. I did tape in random things occasionally like fortunes from fortune cookies from my favorite Chinese restaurant and sayings off of Yogi tea bag tags. Things that spoke to my heart :

Some Favorites –
*Fortunes : “Forget those things that aren’t worth remembering”, “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.”

*Tea Bag Tag : “You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.”

I’ll never destroy my journals, though I do hide them, sometimes from myself by accident. I vary the location I hide them or it wouldn’t be such a problem. They are a part of me, part of the inner true me. One day, but only when I’m dead or dying, I’ll hope they wind up in my daughter’s hands. I wrote something in the front of the journal I just finished, in case someone finds and reads my journal without permission. It’s kind of a disclaimer :

“Should any prying eyes ever read this journal other than someone I’ve given permission. If you find something disagreeable, I’ll make no apologies. Right or wrong, these are my thoughts. I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life being quiet and putting aside how I feel about things. I’ve learned to speak up and in this place I give myself the freedom, the permission, and the right to speak freely.”

A few final things. I don’t include pictures in my journals, photo albums are enough I think. I’ve never inherited a journal either, but would love to read writings of the female ancestors in my family. One day whoever reads mine will know I’m very human, imperfect, yet hopefully I lived and loved fully. 🙂

“Unlocking the Words”

* This was a piece inspired by one of the prompts on Inspiration Monday over at the blog Be Kind Rewrite.  The prompt I partook of was — “used words”.  Pop over and get inspired to write something.*

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Rosemary sat cross legged on her bed and swept her long brown hair behind her.  She placed a pillow in her lap, then opened her journal upon it.  She turned to a blank page and began writing.  Writing had become one of her most treasured past times.

Rather than speak, she used words written on paper to express herself.  Of course, she dared not let anyone read the words.  She only wrote when she was sure no one was around.  The words were hers and she finally had power over her words.  She had a secret hiding place for her journals, so no one would be able to read her words.

She had tired of talking long ago.  It had been a couple of years since her lips had uttered words aloud.  Being condemned every time you open your mouth can have that effect.  Her husband had even told her once she could have opinions as long as she didn’t express them.  Of course, he had lightly said he was joking, but she knew him.  She got so used to swallowing her words, she just stopped talking one day.

No one, including her mother, had been able to get her to talk again.  Speaking simply hurt her heart too much.  She had felt sure no one truly listened to her anyway and her spoken words had always failed to protect her.  The words just ceased to flow as they had no purpose.

The door to her room opened silently and in strode a tall man.  He was dressed in faded jeans, long sleeve buttoned down shirt, and cowboy hat.  She knew he was there by the sound of his boots on the wooden floor.  She remembered the sound.  She stopped writing and looked up with a smile on her face.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he took his hat off and somberly said, “I’m sorry, he’s passed.”  Tears silently began to fall from her eyes.  He embraced her and she cried more.  She cried not only for his passing, which she hoped would give him peace he had never had on earth.  She cried as well, or maybe more so, because she was free.  The man stood and turned to leave.  A single plea escaped her lips, “Stay”.

Journaling and Other Writing Pursuits

English: Headshot of Louisa May Alcott (Novemb...

As I’ve shared before, I’m an avid reader.  This evening, I just finished the book Note to Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea.  Absolutely loved it!  The author is blatantly honest and the book is written like she’s conversing with a close friend, the reader, as she shares many of her own intimate journal entries.  There are numerous sample journal entries throughout the book, including several historic examples as far back in time as 1665.  I was delighted to learn the famous author Louisa May Alcott journaled throughout her life.

Journals can be an excellent way to closer examine our lives.  The author makes suggestions for some topics you may want to write about in a journal.  Journaling could be as simple as recording your daily activities, documenting a dream, or even divulging inner thoughts you would never say aloud.  No matter what you choose to journal about, I do agree with the author’s sentiment that one of the most important people we should be honest with are ourselves.

My writing progress as of late has been a little slow on the end of writing which may bring in financial benefits, but I’ve been writing.  Journaling has by far been my favorite means of writing as of late, since there are some things in my life I’ve been working through.  I’ve actually looked forward to journaling and sought out my journal more often since I gave myself freedom to write in it as I want rather than a required daily entry.

* Enough about journaling, now a little side note about my other writing escapades.  To borrow a phrase from my teen daughter, Camp Nanowrimo was an “Epic Fail” for me and I did not accomplish the goal.  On the positive side, it did inspire me to attempt writing fiction and I wrote a whopping 6,127 words thus far on my novel for the month of June.  Not bad, considering I was devoting a lot of time to several other projects, including gardening.  I will hopefully finish writing it one day, as I am interested in the story. If you’d like to try it, there is another camp coming up in August.  Besides my novel, I’ve also continued writing poetry and worked on adding to the memoir I’m writing.